VIA CAREER BUILDER:
Lying in any capacity is generally not advised — especially at work. More often than not, your lies will catch up to you or run away from you. Either way, you’re left in the dust, with a pink slip likely in your hand. Whether or not it’s OK to lie to your boss, workers will do it anyway. Here are five common situations when workers are tempted to lie and whether or not they should tell the truth:
Situation No. 1: The boss asks you to do something that you don’t want to do
Should you lie? It’s OK to fib about this to your boss and say you’re “happy” to do something for him or her, even if you’re not. Doing so shows your boss that you’re a team player and you’ll do whatever it takes to help the company succeed. “Try to adjust your mindset to being appreciative about something in your job or that you even have a job, to make the ‘happy’ be sincere. In other words, let your happiness to have a job supersede your unhappiness at having to do any task that comes with it,” Goulston says. “Also, realize that it will work out much better for you if you are low-maintenance — easy to please, difficult to upset — than if you are high-maintenance — difficult to please, easy to upset.”
Situation No. 2: You overslept and are late to work
Should you lie? It depends — telling your boss your alarm didn’t go off (when you actually turned it off and went back to bed) might be an acceptable explanation, Goulston says — but only once. “Use it twice and it becomes an excuse; use it more than twice and you’re running the risk of being seen as disorganized [and] irresponsible, which can work against you at review time,” he says.
Situation No. 3: You’re confused about a project, but say you don’t have any questions to save face
Should you lie? It’s OK to tell your boss that you don’t have any questions when you really do, but only if you know you will be able to get an answer from someone else, Goulston says. If you don’t get an answer, however, and it leads to you doing something wrong, you risk getting pounced on later. “A way to speak back respectfully and appreciatively to whoever gives you the order is to say, ‘This is too important for me to misunderstand what you said, because neither you nor I will be happy if I end up doing the wrong thing. Would you please repeat what you said or say it in a different way?'” Goulston suggests.
Situation No. 4: You’re behind on a project, but say you’re on track to avoid getting in trouble
Should you lie? If this is the only time you’ve been behind on a project, it’s OK to say you’re on track, Goulston says. That is, if you think you’ll be able to finish the project by its deadline. But, if you repeatedly lie about being on schedule and you miss deadlines, you run the risk of being seen as disorganized, irresponsible or unreliable.
“You don’t want to take that chance because your boss can quickly put you in the same category as others they view that way,” he says. “And you don’t want to be painted with the same brush as people your boss regards as slackers.”
Situation No. 5: You call in sick, but really, you just want a day off
Should you lie? If you need a day off, it’s best to just be honest and ask for one. “If you’re like many people, calling in sick may cause you fear of being found out or guilt that you’ve lied, which can take the enjoyment out of that day off,” Goulston says. “That would defeat the purpose.”
At the end of the day, Goulston suggests remembering that although your boss might be upset at first, he or she will forgive an honest mistake. But, your boss will never forgive or forget if you lie about it.